Saturday, December 29, 2012

Tofu Fried Rice


3 cups cooked white rice
1/4 cup red pepper, chopped
1/4 cup green pepper, chopped
1 cup tofu, cut into cubes ( I use firm tofu)
2 tsp oil
1 tsp sasam (black mustard seeds)
1/2 tsp jeera (cumin)
3 green chillies, slit (increase or decrease as per taste)
1 sprig curry leaves
1/2 tsp black pepper powder
salt to taste

How it's made:

To prepare tofu.....Hold tofu cubes between palm & try to squeeze out as much water as possible. Set aside.
In a non stick pan, heat oil. Add mustard seeds, jeera, curry leaves & green chillies. Cover until mustard stops popping. Add peppers & tofu. Saute for a few mins. Let the peppers remain crunchy. Add rice, salt & pepper powder. Mix well. Cover & let stand on low flame for the rice to heat evenly. Adjust salt & serve hot.

Serves : 4-5

Note: Vegetables like cabbage, carrots, green beans, green peas can be substituted instead of peppers. I go by the vegetables left in my refrigerator.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012


Merry Christmas! Cheers to good health & great food!

This past weekend, I had volunteered at a kids event to bake 3 dozen cupcakes which needed just frosting & sprinkles. My kitchen has been like a bakery for the last 10 days with cakes, cookies & brownies. To end all the baking for this season, I baked another dozen more to play around with frosting & create something different. With a few Wilton tips that I had, I enjoyed decorating these cupcakes.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Another year older...HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

My baby turned a year older today. "HAPPY BIRTHDAY"! Years fly by and I still remember the first cry, first tooth, first step, first word......... and many other first's. Little Mr. Personality was always energetic, enthusiastic, inquisitive and a big social person. At times, I thought it was dangerous for him to be too social- (worrying he would let the cat out of the Bag)! A voracious reader of fiction books, a budding percussionist and a master of silly faces is quite a joy to be around with. I was recently going through family albums and it was a trip down memory lane. Although the memories are always carried with us, the picture brought life to many growing stages. All the passing years, the changes and the challenges, feels like it's hard to catch up and they grow up too soon.

This time of the year is always crazy but we try to put aside our daily schedules, Christmas activities and make this day a very special one.

Since last year, his birthday celebration has been a week prior to the actual birthdate in order to make it convenient for all his friends. Although, the birthday boy is not a big fan of cake, I was determined to bake a football theme cake for my die hard "Steelers" fan. With the amount of time I had, I was debating between home made or store bought cake.

So, I brain-stormed a few thoughts before going to bed the previous night & the next morning I baked a cake before heading for work. On my way back, I picked up decorating supplies and after dinner, spent a few hours & managed to finish it. I had initially planned on a design which I realized was a little complicated & this was the final result.

The cake was made with store bought yellow cake mix and I used store bought vanilla frosting. While icing details on the cake, I realized home made icing with confectioners sugar would have been a better choice. Store bought frosting is perfect for spreading or sandwiching the cake. Using fondant would have made the details look neater but it has never been a favorite, especially with the birthday boy!

I used a very thin layer of icing which controlled the sweetness.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Pepper Chicken


6 chicken thighs, with bone cut into bite size pieces
2 medium onions, sliced
2 medium tomato, chopped
2 tsp ginger paste
2 tsp garlic paste
3 green cardamom
3 cloves
2 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp red chilli powder
3 tsp pepper powder
1/4 cup coriander leaves
salt to taste

How it's made:

In a bowl, take 2 tsp of pepper powder, salt & marinate to the chicken for 30 mins. In a pan heat oil, add green cardamom, cloves & cinnamon. (I grind the spices in a coffee grinder & add to oil). Then add onions & fry until light brown. Add ginger garlic paste. Fry for a minute. Add tomatoes & salt. Cook until the sauce looks mushy. Add chicken, coriander powder & chilli powder. Cover & cook until chicken is almost done. Lastly add remaining pepper powder & coriander leaves.

Serves : 6

Monday, December 17, 2012

Whole Green Mung Rice

I had sprouted green mung hoping to make a raw salad but with the cold weather, I changed my mind. Although I'm not a big fan of rice, pipping hot food feels good with the cold weather. I had a few sprigs of curry leaves that were wilting away in the refrigerator and had to use them before they dried up and hence this recipe was created.


1 cup uncooked white rice ( I use sona masoori)
1 cup sprouted whole green mung
1 3/4 cup water
3 sprig curry leaves
3 green chillies
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/4 tsp garam masala powder
handful chopped coriander leaves
1 tsp lemon juice
salt to taste
1/2 grated carrot (optional)

How it's made:

Wash and soak rice for 20 minutes. Grind curry leaves, green chillies & ginger to a fine paste with a tsp or two of water. Set aside.
In a heavy bottom pan (I used pressure cooker pan), heat oil. Add onions & fry until translucent. Add ground masala & fry for about 5 minutes. Add rice, water, mung, salt, coriander powder, cumin powder, garam masala, lemon juice, coriander leaves & grated carrot. Boil. Adjust salt & pressure cook for 3 whistles or 10 minutes on medium high flame.

Serves: 2-3

Note: Basmati rice can be substiuted for sona masoori.
          Rice cooker can be used instead of pressure cooker. 

Friday, December 14, 2012

Kori Sukka (Chicken Sukka/ Chicken with coconut)

This recipe is well known in Bunt community. Made with fresh grated coconut & fresh ground spices, most restaurants in Mangalore and neighboring towns like Udupi, Manipal, Kundapur serve excellent chicken sukka. Paired with par-boiled rice, brown/white rice & at times with dosa also, it's a perfect weekend meal. Amma (my Mother) used 2 different varieties of red chillies for this dish - Harekala/ Guddi Mirsang which is about an 1" long and very spicy and Byadgi which was milder. I stick to byadgi  in my cooking since I don't tolerate heat very well.


3 lbs chicken, bone in cut into small pieces
8 red chillies (byadgi), roasted
Marble size tamarind
2 tbsp coriander seeds (heaped), roasted
1/2 tsp methi (Fenugreek seeds), roasted
1/4 tsp black pepper corns, roasted
2 + 1 medium onions, chopped
1 1/2 cup fresh grated coconut, you can go up to 2 cups
1 tsp jeera (cumin seeds)
5-6 cloves garlic
8-10 curry leaves
salt to taste

How it's made:

Grind red chillies, tamarind, coriander seeds, methi & black pepper corns with little water to a paste. In a wide pan, cook chicken with ground spice paste & 2 onions.
Grind 1/4 cup coconut, 1 tsp jeera & garlic cloves until well blend.
In the meantime, in a separate frying pan, heat oil. Add 1 chopped onion & curry leaves & fry until golden brown and crisp.
Once chicken is almost cooked, uncover lid & try to let all the liquid evaporate. Add coconut paste & the remaining grated coconut. Stir well & let it heat through. Add fried onions to the chicken & give one last stir.

Serves : 6

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Punjabi Kadhi (Chick pea flour dumplings in yogurt based sauce)

I have tried many different versions of  "Punjabi Kadhi" & failed every time until I was gifted with Sanjeev Kapoor's cook book by one of my Aunts. This turned out to be the best of all and was adapted from Sanjeev Kapoor's Traditional Indian Cuisine-Punjabi cook book. I made a few modifications to the original recipe to suit our taste.


For the Pakore (Dumplings):
3/4 cup Besan (chick pea flour)
1 small onion, chopped
1/4 cup kasoori Methi
1 "ginger, grated
1 tsp chilli powder
salt to taste
oil for deep frying

For the Gravy (Yogurt based Sauce):

1 cup unflavored yogurt
1/4 cup besan (chick pea flour)
1/4 tsp methi seeds (fenugreek seeds)
1/2 tsp jeera (cumin seeds)
1/2 tsp pepper corns
2-3 dried red chillies (byadgi)
1 medium onion, sliced
1 tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp haldi (turmeric powder)
1/2 "ginger, grated
salt to taste

How it's made:

To make the pakore- Mix all ingredients together except oil with half cup water. Mix until smooth, Drop by spoonful into hot oil & deep fry about 6-8 at a time without over crowding. Fry until light golden brown. Drain on paper towel.

To make the gravy- Heat oil in a non stick pan. Add methi, jeera, pepper corns & dried red chillies. Fry until red chillies change into a deeper color. Add onions & fry until translucent. In the meantime, whisk yogurt in a bowl. Add besan (chick pea flour) & whisk well to avoid lumps. Add 2 cups water. Add yogurt sauce to onions. Let it boil on low heat. Keep stirring. Add ginger, spice powder and salt to taste. Add fried dumplings & let cook for 5 mins on very low heat. Serve with white rice or roti.

Serves: 4

Monday, December 10, 2012

Broccoli Batate Upkari (Broccoli - Potato Stir Fry)


3-4 cups fresh broccoli florets (I use broccoli crowns)
1 small potatoes, peeled & cut into 1" cubes
1 tsp sasam (black mustard seeds)
2 whole dried red chillies (Byadgi), cut into pieces
salt to taste

How it's made:

In a "Kadai", skillet or non stick pan, heat oil. Add mustard seeds. Once they splutter, add red chillies & fry until chillies turn to a deeper red color. Add potatoes & a pinch of salt. Do not add water. Cover & cook until potatoes are almost done. Add broccoli & salt to taste. Cover & let cook for a few mins. (I let them cook for 2-3 mins only since I like them crunchy).
Serve with white rice & Dalitoy.

Serves: 4

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Jhalke Alle Piyava Ambat (Konkani Fish Curry)

Fish curry was almost an everyday dish at my Ajja's & Bapama's (my Father's parents) place. Growing up, my school was right next door to Bapama's & I had the privileged to eat fresh home cooked lunch everyday. Since Bapama's house consisted of joint family and extended family members, fried fish was out of question.
Back home, fish curry was cooked in an earthen pot called as "Kulle" in Konkani. It gave a very distinctive taste to the whole dish & the flavor was just incredible. Cleaning the dish was very easy & no odor was left behind. (I now rinse dishes with vinegar after cooking!)
Some of the popular Konkani fish curries are Alle Piyava Ambat (coconut based curry made with ginger & onions), Piyava Ambat (coconut based curry seasoned with fried onions) & Phanna Upkari (chilli based sauce with spices) which I will post down the road.


4 tilapia fillet (approx 1lb)
1 cup fresh grated coconut
6 dried red chillies, roasted (I use byadgi)
marble size tamarind
1" ginger, chopped fine
2 green chillies, cut in half
1 small onion, chopped
salt to taste
1/2 tsp coconut oil (optional)

How it's made:

Wash, rinse & cut fish into cubes.
Grind coconut, red chillies & tamarind to a smooth paste.
In a wide pan, mix in ginger, green chilli, onion, ground masala and salt to taste. Add a little water at a time to make a thick gravy. Boil for 2-3 minutes. Check for salt.
Add fish & give one quick stir.

Boil but stir only if required since fish tends to break apart easily.
Drizzle with coconut oil & serve hot with white rice.

Serves: 4-6

Note: I used tilapia since no one at home likes fish with bone in. This curry is traditionally made with pomfrets, king fish or mackerels.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Rajma (Red Kidney Bean) Curry


8 oz uncooked Rajma (Red Kidney Beans) or 2 - 15 oz can light red kidney beans
1 tsp jeera (cumin seeds)
1/2 tsp hing powder (Asafoetida)
1 large onion, sliced
1/2 cup tomato puree
2 cloves garlic, chopped fine
2 green chillies, slit
1"ginger grated
1 tsp red chilli powder (adjust as per spice level)
1/2 tsp haldi (turmeric powder)
1/2 tsp jeera powder (cumin powder)
1 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp garam masala powder
Coriander leaves for garnishing
salt to taste

How it's made:

Rinse & soak uncooked Rajma for an hour. Add enough water to cover the beans & pressure cook for 5-10 minutes. If Rajma wasn't soaked earlier, cook for another 5 minutes.
For canned Rajma: rinse beans in a colander & set aside.
In a "Kadai", "Kayli"or non stick pan, heat oil. Add jeera, hing & green chillies. Fry for 30 seconds. Add onions & 1/2 tsp salt. Fry until onions are light brown. Add ginger & garlic. Saute' for 2 minutes. Add tomato puree. Cook for another minute. Add rajma with cooked water, red chilli powder, haldi, jeera powder, coriander powder & salt to taste. Cook for 5 minutes on medium high flame. Add water if the curry is too dry. Finish with garam masala & coriander leaves.

Serve with Roti or plain white rice.

Serves : 5

Friday, November 30, 2012

Khichdi (Rice with Split Green Gram)

After feeding ourselves with left overs from Thanksgiving weekend, a simple Khichdi dinner was a very comforting meal. To add to it, the bone chilling cold weather in our state made the dish very inviting.
This dish is popular in every Indian state in their own traditional way. Some add vegetables, seafood & different variety of spices. I like this version since it's quick, easy & flavorful.


1/2 cup uncooked white rice
1/2 cup split moong dal (split green gram)
1/2 tsp sasam (black mustard seeds)
1/4 tsp jeera (cumin seeds)
2 green chillies, slit in half
4-5 curry leaves
1/4 tsp hing (asafoetida)
1/2 tsp black pepper corns
1 tsp oil
1 tsp ghee (clarified butter)
salt to taste

How it's made:

Wash, soak rice & dal together for about 15 mins. In a heavy bottom pan (I used pressure cooker pan), heat oil & ghee togteher. Add mustard & jeera. Once it splutters, add green chilli, curry leaves, pepper corns & hing. Fry for a minute. Add 2 1/2 cups water. Boil. Add washed rice, dal & salt to taste.  Stir well. Pressure cook to 3 whistles or 10 mins on medium high flame.

Serve hot with papad or pickle.

Serves: 4

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Buffalo Chicken Sandwich

With two gatherings this past weekend & two roast chicken, I had quite a bit of left overs in my refrigerator. The bland pieces of meat had to be flavored to finish up the remaining and this was the simplest way.


2 carrots, peeled
4 white mushrooms
1 medium yellow squash
1 medium green squash
5 spring onions (white only)
1 medium jalapeno
3 cups cooked shredded chicken
1/4 cup buffalo wing sauce
salt to taste
2 tsp Olive oil
cheddar/ mozarella cheese (block or shredded)
6 club or steak rolls

How it's made:

Slice all vegetables lengthwise about 2" long thin strips. In a pan, heat olive oil. Fry sliced jalapeno until light brown. (Remove membrane & seeds to reduce spice level). Add veggies, salt & saute' them for a few minutes until soft.

Add shredded chicken & buffalo sauce. Adjust salt.
Slice bread horizontally. Spoon a few teaspoon of chicken with veggies on the base of bread. Place slices of cheese or grated cheese. Cover with top half of bread. Place sandwich in panini maker & toast until cheese melts.(Or use a grill pan/iron skillet and place a heavy pan on the sandwich. Toast 3-4 mins on medium high flame on both side or until cheese melts).

Serves: 6

Note: Rotisserie chicken can be used for this recipe.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Sanna Polo/ Piyava Polo (Rice & Coconut Pancake with Onions)


1 cup fresh grated coconut
6 fried red chillies (byadgi)
marble size tamarind
1 1/2 cup uncooked white rice
1 large onion, chopped

How it's made:

Wash & soak rice for 2-3 hrs. Grind coconut, red chillies & tamarind until smooth with 1/4 cup warm water. Remove 3/4 of the ground masala & grind with uncooked rice. At this point do not add water. Transfer ground masala to a mixing bowl. Add salt & onions. Mix well.

Heat "polyai kayli" (dosa pan) or skillet. Drizzle 1/2 tsp oil. Pour a ladle full of batter to look like a pancake. Cover with lid & let cook until the base of pancake is light brown. Flip over & cook on the other side. Serve with plain white rice & dalitoy.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Roast Chicken

Happy Thanksgiving!

I started a Thanksgiving tradition couple of years ago with roast chicken, mashed potato, gravy, stuffing, roast vegetables & corn bread or polenta. When my son was in kindergarten, I spent quite a few days volunteering in his classroom. While helping the teacher soon after Thanksgiving break, I tried listening to kids talking to the teacher during circle time about what they did on Thanksgiving day. Kids were excited about eating turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, etc. Finally I heard my son say "I ate rice & yogurt" excitingly as it was his favorite food then!!! Since we celebrated almost all Indian festivals at home, the following year, I decided to celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas at my house as well.

Although, this roast chicken is not the traditional Thanksgiving recipe, its been a family favorite since I first made it few years ago.


1 oven roaster chicken with pop up timer(approx 10 lbs)
1 bunch coriander leaves
1 small pod garlic
8-10 green chillies (adjust as per your liking)
50 grams of curry powder/ poultry seasoning or any spice rub of your choice
2 tbsp oil
salt to taste
lemon, celery, carrot, onion (to stuff in the cavity)

How it's made:

Grind coriander leaves, green chillies, garlic & ginger to a fine paste. Mix curry powder/ poultry seasoning & salt. Let the spice rub be a little salty & spicier than your preference. (Chicken absorbs salt & spice while let to marinate).
Remove chicken giblets. Remove any excess fat. Rinse and pat dry. Rub spice mix to chicken, including the cavity. Refrigerate for 24 hrs.

In a roaster pan(with rack), pour about 3 cups of water. Stuff the chicken cavity with lemon, celery, carrot & onion. Tie the legs together with kitchen string & tuck in the wings. Place chicken on roaster rack. Cover with foil & bake at 375 deg F for 2 hrs. Remove foil & bake for another 1/2 hour. Chicken is done when instant thermometer reads 165 deg F when inserted to the thickest part of thigh. (I let it cook until 180 deg F). Let it stand on serving platter for 10 mins before carving.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Oatmeal Raisin Chocolate Chip Cookie

Every year between mid November & end December, we organize a gathering for our friends that we've known for a very long time. Although we meet several times throughout the year during special occasions, I personally look forward to this informal evening to share a few good laughs & recollect memories with this amazing group of friends. As a token of appreciation for their valued friendship, I always try to make handmade gifts each year. This year was "Cookie in a Jar". I adapted the recipe from Betty Crocker with a few variations.


1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
1/3 cup sugar
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 1/2 cup old fashioned/quick cooking oats
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla

How it's made:

Preheat oven to 350 deg Fahrenheit.
Sift flour, salt & baking powder. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, beat butter, egg & vanilla until smooth. Add flour and remaining dry ingredients. Mix well.
On a cookie sheet, drop dough with a tbsp about 2 inches apart. (they spread while baking).

Bake 10-12 minutes until light brown. (I was multi tasking & my cookies were in the oven for an extra 3 minutes which gave them a deeper brown color).

Cool & store in air tight container.

Makes approx. 20 cookies

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Diwali - A festival of Lights

Wishing all my friends, family and fellow readers a very HAPPY DIWALI!

I took a little help from my son who wrote this passage on Diwali.

   Diwali, or Deepavali, is known as the festival of lights in the Hindu religion. This event is celebrated by Hindus, Jains, Buddhists and Sikhs. The significance of Diwali remains the same for all the listed religions.  Diwali is known as the ‘Festival of Lights’ and is celebrated between mid-October and mid-November. For Hindus, Diwali is one of the most important festivals of the year; it signifies: (1) the return of Lord Rama after 14 years of undeserved exile with his recovered wife, stolen from him by the demon lord Ravan; (2) the death of another demon, Narakasura, slayed by Lord Krishna’s wife Satyabhama; and the return of the Pandava princes after their exile. These reasons are commonly associated with Diwali.

    ‘Diwali,’ is a contraction of ‘Deepavali’ a Sanskrit word that translates into ‘row of lamps’. Diwali is mainly consisted of lighting clay lamps filled with oil. This action is believed to signify the triumph of good over evil. The lamps are lit at night and are left burning overnight; this action welcomes Goddess Laxmi, goddess of wealth, into one’s house. One must keep his/her house clean to make the goddess feel welcome. Firecrackers are burst to drive away ill spirits and demons and to purify one’s soul. During Diwali, one wears new clothes, shares sweets and distributes gifts to family and friends. Diwali is a time to spend with family and friends, have fun and eat good food!

Here's what I made this year - Chakuli, Shankarpali, Tukdi, Cereal Chivda, Nippat and 7 cups Khadi.


This is a favorite in my household. When we talk about Diwali at home, the first question that comes up is "When can I help with making Shankarpali?" They disappear as & when I fry them!!! I tried to make in large quantity this year since we like it at home and it is popular with kids as well.


6oz milk
6oz sugar
4 oz ghee, thick (clarified butter)
Maida (flour)- approx 3 cups, maybe more
a pinch of salt
oil for frying

How it's made:

Boil milk, ghee & sugar together. Add maida little at a time & stir with spoon to avoid lumps. Make a soft dough & set aside covered with a damp towel. Take a lemon size dough & roll to 1/2"thick circle. (Dusting the rolling pin & surface with flour is not required).

Using a pizza cutter or serrated edge cutter (like the one in the image below), cut into diamond or small squares.

Deep fry in medium hot oil. If the oil is too hot, it browns quickly on the outside but remains uncooked on inside. Remove from oil when light brown.

Note: It can be deep fried in ghee which makes it more tastier.


This is the easiest & simplest chakuli recipe that I've tried. Thanks to my good old friend from India, without whom, I would not have been able to try it out.

3 cups rice flour
1/4 cup besan (chick pea flour)
2 tsp til (sesame seeds)
1 tsp jeera (cumin seeds)
5 tsp oil
3 tsp ghee (clarified butter), warmed
a pinch of hing (asafoetida)
a pinch of soda bi carb
salt to taste
oil for frying

How it's made:

Sift rice flour, besan, salt, soda bi carb together. To it, add til, jeera, oil, ghee and enough water to make a soft dough.

Fill a small amount of dough into the chakuli mould & press onto flat surface. (I use wax paper).

Lift one end of wax paper & flip the chakli onto your fingers & deep fry in hot oil until golden. Drain on paper towel. Set aside until completely cool & store in airtight container.



3 cups rice flour
3 tbsp chana dalia
2 tbsp split moong dal
4 green chillies
1 bunch spring onions (green only)
1/2 stick butter, melted
salt to taste
oil for deep frying

How it's made:

Soak chana dalia & split moong dal for 10 mins.
Grind green chillies with a few tsp of water. Strain & use chilli water to mix in the dough.
Chop finley the top half of spring onions (green only).

In a large mixing bowl, mix in rice flour, dals, green chilli water, spring onion, warm melted butter, salt & water to make a soft dough. Cover the dough with a damp towel.

Make small marble size balls. Place between plastic sheets (I used Ziploc sandwich bags) & flatten them. Spread a drop of oil on the plastic sheet if the dough sticks to the sheet.

Deep fry in oil. Fry on medium high heat until brown & drain on paper towel. Set aside until completely cool & store in airtight container.

Cereal Chivda

Cereal Chivda makes an enjoyable, healthy anytime snack.


3 cups corn flakes
2 cups rice crispies
3 cups honey nut cheerios
2 tsp sasam (black mustard seeds)
1 sprig curry leaves
1/2 tsp hing (asafoetida)
1 tsp red chilli powder
2-3 tsp coriander/jeera/saunf powder (see note below)
salt to taste
1 tsp sugar
1/4 cup peanuts, roasted (optional)

How it's made:

In a non stick pan, fry cereal for a few mins until warm & toasty. (It can be warmed in an oven at 200 deg Fahrenheit for 10-15 mins).
In a wide pan, heat oil. Add mustard seeds. Once it splutters, add curry leaves, hing, chilli powder, coriander/ jeera powder, salt to taste & sugar. Add toasted cereal & peanuts. Mix well. Cool & store in airtight container. ( I skipped peanuts due to kids with food allergy).


Coriander/Jeera/Saunf powder: In a coffee grinder, powder a palm full of corainder seeds, a palm full of jeera(cumin seeds) & 2 palm full of saunf (fennel seeds). This spice mix can be used for garam masala based veg or non veg dishes.

7 cups Khadi/Burfi

This was one of my Mamama's (my grandmother-Mother's Mother) favorite dessert to make when there were extra coconuts in the house. I had tried it once several years ago & thought of making this year for Diwali. I personally don't like sweets & other family members prefer a few selected ones.  As per Mamama 3 cups of sugar, a cup each of other ingredients make up 7 cups. Hence the name "7 cups khadi". I cut down a cup of sugar & 1/4 cup of ghee from this recipe.


2 cups sugar (my grandmother used 3 cups)
1 cup coconut
3/4 cup ghee (clarified butter)
1 cup besan (chick pea flour)
1 cup milk
crushed almonds for garnishing (optional)

How it's made:

Lightly grease a steel plate or 9"pie dish with ghee. In a non stick pan, combine all ingredients & cook on medium high heat until it thickens & leaves sides of the pan, approx 20 minutes. Transfer mixture to greased dish and garnish with crushed almonds. Cool for 10-12 minutes & cut into desired shape. Remove & store in container when it comes to room temperature.

What I learnt:  I turned off the heat a few minutes prior to the mixture separating from the side & it didn't harden up like the way I wanted.  It had a hard surface with chewy base like caramel candy but tasted good!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Chana Gashi (Brown chick peas with jackfruit)

Chana Gashi is a staple dish in Konkani Cuisine. This coconut based dish is made during special occasions like weddings and religious events since it's cooked without onion & garlic. As a child, while my family attended events at the temple, we eagerly waited for Chana Gashi to be served on a banana leaf by temple volunteers. We would start staring at everyone's banana leaf from the end of the row, hoping we would get a piece of Kadgi. At times, it was just brown chick peas! Amma (my mother) or other relatives would be kind enough to share some with the kids.

Recalling those memories, I make sure that I add plenty of Kadgi (jackfruit) in my Chana Gashi at every religious event in my house.


1 cup brown chana (brown chick peas)
I can kadgi (jackfruit)
1 cup fresh grated coconut
6 dried red chillies,roasted (Byadgi)
marble size tamarind
salt to taste
1 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp jeera (cumin seeds)
1 sprig curry leaves
1 tsp oil

How it's made:

Soak chana overnight (or 6 hrs) & pressure cook the next morning. (Save the cooked water & use for cooking the curry or grinding the coconut paste).
Grind coconut, red chillies & tamarind with a little water to a fine paste. Cut Kadgi into bite size peices.
In a large pan, mix cooked chana, kadgi & salt. Cook together for 5-10 mins. Add ground masala. Boil for a few mins. Adjust salt.
In a "Phanna Davlo"or small frying pan, heat oil. Add mustard seeds. Once it splutters, add jeera & curry leaves. Add seasoning to chana gashi. Mix well & cover. Serve with white rice.

Serves: 6

Friday, October 26, 2012

Shrimp Balchao

A teaspoon of this goes a long way! This dish turns out very spicy and I prefer to cook on summer/fall days since the house needs to be well ventilated while frying the ground paste. The taste is quite similar to shrimp pickle & stays well refrigerated for a few weeks.

This recipe reminds me of Amma's (my Mother) Shrimp pickle which was always in her refrigerator during Monsoon days when the fish mongers didn't show up at her door.


1 1/2 lb shrimp,peeled and deveined
2 medium onions, chopped
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
1 sprig curry leaves
10-12 dried red chillies (byadgi)
8 cloves
4 green cardamom
1-2 tsp pepper corns
1 tsp jeera(cumin seeds)
1/2 tsp haldi(turmeric powder)
4-6 cloves garlic
1 tsp vinegar
salt to taste

How it's made:

Grind red chillies, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, pepper corns, jeera, haldi, ginger, garlic, vinegar to a fine paste with very little water.
In a kadai or skillet, fry onions until light brown. Add ground masala & fry for atleast 20 mins. The more you fry the masala, the better the taste. Add tomatoes & curry leaves. After the tomatoes turn mushy, add shrimp. Do not add water. Cover & cook until shrimp is cooked- maybe 10 mins. Shrimp turns to be chewy if over cooked. Adjust salt.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Cracked Wheat Pulao

Cracked wheat is an excellent source of fiber, vitamins and minerals and easily available at most Indian stores. It is often confused with Bulghur which is popular with Middle eastern population. Raw whole wheat that are crushed is called Cracked Wheat whereas Bulghur is whole wheat that are soaked, steamed, dried and then crushed. Cooking cracked wheat takes a longer time, while Bulghur can be consumed after a short soaking time or depending on the quality, it may not need any cooking.

Cracked wheat soaks up more water and takes a longer time to cook when compared to rice. Unlike making pulao, more water can be added to cracked wheat during cooking process.

I was on a fridge/pantry cleaning spree a few days ago and this was the end result with a few varieties of vegetables and a packet of Cracked Wheat.


1 1/2 cup cracked wheat
1 1/2 cup mixed vegetables (carrot, beans, peppers, cauliflower, squash, spring onions, peas, corn- your choice)
1 medium onion chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1"ginger, grated
2 tsp heaped curry powder
4 cups water
2 tsp oil
salt to taste

How it's made:

Wash cracked wheat under running water 2-3 times.

Chop vegetables and set aside.

In a heavy bottom pan, heat oil. Add onion, ginger & garlic. Saute' for a minute. Add mixed vegetables, curry powder & salt to taste. Fry for 2-3 mins. Add cracked wheat. Mix well together.

Add water. Boil. Check for salt. Once it starts bubbling, cover & simmer on low flame until water evaporates. For some reason, if cracked wheat is uncooked, keep adding little water at a time until cracked wheat is well cooked.

Serves : 6

Note: I have used equal amount of cracked wheat and vegetable since I like vegetables in every bite! You can adjust the quantity of vegetable as per your preference.